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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  March 10, 2010 2:00pm-2:30pm EST

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the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 418. the nays are one.
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2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the resolution is agreed to, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from missouri, mr. clay, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4621 which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4621, a bill to protect the integrity of the constitutionally mandated united states census and prohibit the mail practices that exploit the dissenial census. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: third thirds, the matter is -- the rules are suspended and the bill is passed, without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the reconsider is laid upon the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. kucinich: request h.con. resolution 248, directing the president pursuant to section 5-c of the war powers resolution to remove the united states armed forces from afghanistan be brought to the floor immediately for consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the concurrent resolution. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 248 -- >> mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is correct. the chair would ask all members to take their conversations from the floor so we may from the floor so we may proceed with business. the clerk may proceed. the clerk: house concurrent resolution 248, concurrent
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resolution directing the president pursuant to section 5-c of the war powers resolution to remove the united states armed forces from afghanistan. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 1146, the concurrent resolution is considered as read. the concurrent resolution shall be debatable for three hours with 90 minutes controlled by the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich, or his designee, and 90 minutes equally divided by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on foreign affairs. the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich. mr. kucinich: mr. speaker, the house is still not in order. this is a very important debate. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is correct. mr. kucinich: i would like to have the attention of members who are in the chamber. the speaker pro tempore: the chair would ask all members to take their conversations from the floor. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. kucinich: i yield myself
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such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, in 2001 i joined the house in voting for the authorization for the use of military force. in the past 8 1/2 years it has become clear that the authorization for the ice of military force is being interpretted as carte blanche for sir couple -- interpreted as carte blanche for circumventing congress' role as a co-equal branch of government. my legislation invokes the war powers resolution of 1973 and if enacted would require the president to withdraw u.s. armed forces from afghanistan by december 31, 2010. the debate today will be the first opportunity we have had to revisit the 2001 authorization for the use of military force which the house supported following the worst terrorist attack in our country's history. regardless of your support or opposition to the war in afghanistan, this is going to
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be the first opportunity to evaluate critically where the authorization for the use of military force has taken us in the last 8 1/2 years. this 2001 resolution allowed military action, quote, to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the united states, unquote. those of us who support withdraw from afghanistan may or may not agree on a timeline for troop withdrawal, but i think we agree that this debate is timely. the rest of the world is beginning to see the folly of trying to occupy afghanistan. the dutch government recently came to a halt over the commitment of more troops from their country. in britain, public outcry over the war is growing. a recent bbc poll indicated that 63% of the british public is demanding that their troops come home by christmas. opposition to the war in germany has risen to 69%. russia has lost billions of dollars in the nine years it
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spent attempting to control afghanistan. i suppose nation building in afghanistan has come at the destruction of our own. the military escalation cements the path of the united states down the road of previous occupiers that earned afghanistan its nickname, as the graveyard of empires. one year ago last month the report by the carnegie endowment concluded, quote, the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency momentum is start withdrawing troops. the presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgents of the taliban, unquote. . so this debate today, mr. speaker, we will have time to reflect on troop casualties that are now reaching 1,000, to look at our responsibilities for the cost of the war which approaches $250 billion, our responsibility for the civilian casualties and the human cost
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of the war, our responsibility for challenging the corruption that takes place in afghanistan, our responsibility for having a real understanding of the role of the pipeline in this war, our responsibility for debating the role of counterinsurgency strategies as opposed to counterterrorism, our responsibility for being able to make a case for the logistics of withdrawal. after 8 1/2 years it is time that we have this debate. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in opposition to the resolution and i yield myself four minutes. mr. chairman, i think the gentleman from -- first of all, i think i have to say that i've
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quite enjoyed working with the gentleman from ohio on this issue and issues we've dealt with since i became chairman. it is right for the house to have an open, honest debate on the merits of our ongoing military operations in afghanistan and outside, outside the context of a defense spending bill or a supplemental appropriations bill. this is -- this is a good thing to be doing. by vesting the war -- to declare war with the congress the united states -- it is incumbent on this body to debate as thoroughly as possible to committing u.s. forces to battlele. now, as a procedural matter, i take issue with the invocation of section 53 of the war powers resolution as the basis for this debate because that section authorizes a privileged
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resolution, like the one before us today, to require the withdrawal of combat forces when congress has not authorized the use of military force. there really can't be any doubt that congress authorized u.s. military action in afghanistan. the authorization for the use of military force passed by congress in late september, 2001, explicitly empowers the president to use force against the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. president and those harbored them, and president obama is doing just that. at this particular moment we would demand a complete withdrawal of our troops from afghanistan by the end of the year without regard to the consequence of our withdrawal, without regard to the situation on the ground, including efforts to promote economic development, expand the rule of law and without any measurement of whether the whole strategy now being implemented is indeed
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working i don't think is the responsible thing to do. our troops are fighting a complex nexus of terrorist organizations, al qaeda, the taliban, all of which threatens the stability of the afghan government, and they demonstrated their ability to strike our homeland. if we withdrawal from afghanistan before the government there is capable of providing a basic level of security for its own people, we face the prospect that the taliban once again will take the reigns of power in kabul. that will be a national security disaster. i'm keenly aware that even if we remain in afghanistan, and here i want to emphasize this, there's no guarantee we'll prevail in our fight -- in this fight. but if we don't try we are guaranteed to fail. president obama has taken a very deliberate are a tif approach. he's examined -- delib tif approach. he's -- deliberative approach. he's examined and talked to
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relevant officers and allies. he has no issue unvetted as part of this review. he deserves an opportunity now to implement his strategy. he's given us the timeline for when he expects to see results and there will be a reassessment of our strategy in 18 months. general mcchrystal, the commander of the u.s. forces and international forces, indicated that we have made progress since the new strategy was announced on december 1. witnessing the first major joint nato afghanistan military operation in the city of marja, considered a strategic folcrum for ridding the taliban. they are ridding their afghan counterparts. they are making the afghan people their number one priority, which is the basis for this counterinsurgency strategy. and to that end state
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department, usaid, they have been working hard to develop a concrete governance strategy. i was here during the frenzy debate during 9/11 when congress authorized the use of force against those responsible for the horrors of that day and those who chose to provide the perpetrators a safe haven, and i was here for the vote a year later -- i yield myself 30 additional seconds. and i was here for the vote a year later to authorize military force against iraq. please don't conflat the two. the fight in afghanistan is the fight against those who attacked us. i'm not endorsing an open-ended commitment. i'm not advocating we remain without assessing our progress, but i do believe the strategy of our president's deserves support and i urge opposition to the resolution. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio. the gentleman from ohio is
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recognized. mr. kucinich: inquiry to the chair. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will state his inquiry. mr. kucinich: i was understanding that you were going to go from mr. berman to the republicans that may be speaking in opposition. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. does the gentleman reserve the balance of his time? mr. kucinich: i'll reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i rise in strong opposition to this resolution. as we are all aware, u.s. forces at this very moment are engaged in battle against heavily armed enemy forces in a strategically important region of afghanistan. our brave men and women are making steady progress against the deadly foe and are doing so at great risk to their lives. this offensive is part of a new strategy in afghanistan focused on the immediate goals of
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disrupting, dismantling and defeating al qaeda, denying al qaeda a safe haven, and reversing the momentum of the taliban. this offensive is already producing dramatic success, including the capture of senior taliban leaders, the rounding of their forces and the stabilization of key areas. it should be supported, not undermined. we must not give taliban leaders and fighters a shield against u.s. forces that they would otherwise -- that they otherwise cannot stop. no enemy was ever vanquished, no victory was ever secured by running away. those who wish to destroy us would surely follow us, convinced that we had been beaten and eager to attack us wherever we go as they would be confident that we can in fact be beaten again. mr. speaker, let us dispel any myths or illusions about the consequences of a forced
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withdrawal. as general petraeus has warned, and i quote, i was in kandahar, it was in kandahar that the 9/11 attacks were planned. it was in the training camps in eastern afghanistan where the initial preparation of the attackers was carried out before they went to hamburg and flight schools in the u.s. it is important to recall the seriousness of the mission and why it is that we are in afghanistan in the first place and why we are still there after years and years of hard work and sacrifice that have passed, end quote. one of the principled reasons we have been spared the repeat of those attacks is that u.s. forces quickly toppled the taliban regime that was protecting the terrorists and drove it and its al qaeda allies out of their safety zone and into the remote mountains. years of constant u.s. military pressure have forced them to turn their attention from planning more attacks against
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our homeland to fighting for their own survival. to leave afghanistan now would pave the way for the re-establishment of a vast and secure base from which al qaeda and other deadly enemies could strike americans around the world. having withdrawal and abandoned our hard won positions, our allies and the people of afghanistan -- well, the u.s. credibility would be significantly and perhaps irrevokably damaged. this in turn could leave the u.s. alone and more vulnerable than ever to the threats of radical islamic extremists. our retreat would be seen around the world by friends and opponents alike as a surrender, as a sign that america no longer has the will to defend herself. we might attempt to fool ourselves into believing it was merely a temporary setback, that we have suffered no long-term blow, but no one else would be fooled.
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it would be proof to every group that wishes to attack and destroy us that we can be fought and we can be beaten, that eventually america will just give up regardless of the consequences. we should support our troops. by supporting their efforts to disrupt and dismantle and defeat al qaeda and the taliban. as many of you know, my daughter-in-law, lindsey, served in iraq and afghanistan. i also have two committee staffers, one in the army reserves and one in the marine reserves who are on their way now to afghanistan. this is not their first time in battle. both of these gentlemen have served bravely in iraq, but the prospect of entering combat never becomes routine. they, like my stepson, douglas, who served as a marine fighter pilot in iraq, have recounted to me how the debates in congress, to mandate a withdrawal from iraq,
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demoralizes u.s. troops. the request of my staffers to me as they embark on their mission to afghanistan is to provide them with all of the tools and all of the support that they need to defeat the enemy and to win. they ask that we strengthen our commitment, our resolve to the mission in afghanistan and pakistan. our enemies are redoubling their efforts. we must also. in june of last year, osama bin laden noted that u.s. efforts had been, and i quote, transferred to afghanistan and pakistan. thus, jihad must be directed at that region, end quote. bin laden later said in september, and i quote, not much longer and the war in afghanistan will be over. afterwards, not even a trace of the americans will be found there. much rather they will retreat far away behind the atlantic. then, only we and you will be
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left. end quote. we must do everything possible to deny by laden and al qaeda such a victory. -- bin laden and al qaeda such a victory. for us to succeed in afghanistan we need america's support, but the afghan people will not be giving that support if they believe that we will abandon them. as admiral michael mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said, quote, when i'm in afghanistan i get the same questioned asked as when i'm in pakistan which is, are you going to leave us again, because they remember very well that we have in the past. and so there's a trust issue here. there's uncertainty through afghanistan's eyes as to whether or not we will stay, end quote. in cooperating with us, in trusting us, they know they are risking their lives and those of their families. our troops are listening as well. this debate today reminds me of
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the many times that i have come down to the floor to speak against the force withdrawal in iraq and the need to support our mission there. mr. speaker, it is an illusion to believe that we can protect ourselves from our enemies by picking and choosing easy battles and turning away from those that require patience and sacrifice. this congress cannot, must not turn away from its responsibility to defend our country and our citizens simply because the task seems too difficult. the men and women in uniform who willingly risk their lives to defend our country do not believe that. mr. speaker, as with all of my fellow members and citizens, i hope for a world one day without war. but in the world we live in, some wars are forced upon us and we have no choice but to fight and to winm

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